Creepy Blu-ray Review
At the very least they could have gone with the double meaning of 'Unsettling' as a title.
Blending Hitchcock's Psycho, Rear Window, and Vertigo, with Mann's Manhunter, Creepy may not be quite as great as any of these, but it certainly deserves a better title.Following a horrific incident, police detective Takakura retires to a quiet life teaching criminal psychology to students in the suburbs. Inadvertently getting drawn into a cold case involving missing families, his off-the-books investigation leads closer to home than he could have ever expected. Kiyoshi Kurosawa (no relation) has made a name for himself producing quality J-horror, like Pulse and Cure, with his latest feature an adaptation of Yutaka Maekawa's acclaimed novel. It's an accomplished work; considered, clinically captured, and frequently unsettling - often at the least expected moments - telling a largely unconventional tale despite its ostensible genre restrictions.Starring Hidetoshi Nishijima, from Kitano's Dolls, the quintet of key players are all afforded some notion of depth, which helps drawn you further into their plight. There's no denying that the film owes a lot to Hitchcock (equal parts Psycho, Rear Window, and Vertigo), and films like Mann's Manhunter (and Harris' novel Red Dragon), with a weary, physically and psychologically damaged investigator drawn back into the fray, leaving it more psychological thriller than solely horror or thriller. Indeed Creepy largely differentiates itself from genre conventions, cranking up the tension and slow-burning its way through the mysterious twists and turns to a shocking final act.
Picture QualityCreepy lands on UK shores courtesy of Eureka, who promote the movie on a Region B-locked Blu-ray complete with a decent but unexceptional 1080p/AVC-encoded video presentation framed in the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 widescreen.
It's a decent but unexceptional presentation
Clearly the image has been heavily graded to give it a fairly conventional J-horror look, which interior shots both in the police department and the faculty buildings almost monochromatic, with a green tint pervading the piece. Detail can be really very variable, with some of the better-lit external shots looking very impressive, and bringing up skin textures and finer details not present in other shots. It's obvious that some of the problems emanate from the material itself, with an early interview, around the 40 minute mark, really struggling with a stylistic change in interior lighting (surprisingly clumsily implemented to fit the mood of the conversation), but the image struggles under these conditions, losing further detail, giving way to softness and even a hint of crush.
Creepy is far from pleasing to the eye - despite being often quite impressively shot in terms of camerawork and framing - and unfortunately the video presentation, whilst likely a very natural and faithful rendition of the material, is equally far from pleasing to the eye, and equally far from reference.
Sound QualityCreepy is offered up with two flavours of audio track - a Linear PCM 2.0 mix which is solid but far from standout, and a superior DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that affords the thriller better atmospherics and an expanded array with which to wield its myriad elements.
It's far from demo but nicely nuanced nonetheless
The Japanese dialogue takes priority across the frontal array, with optional English subtitles keeping pace with the dialogue, whilst the effects track provides the meat as it picks up everything from chattering backyard insects to the bustle of students in the faculty; often allowing quieter noises to be played against a backdrop of sheer silence to afford them more prominence, and doing precisely the same thing with the unsettling score, which creeps in around the edges to throw you off balance. Again, this is far from demo material, but it's nicely nuanced sound design nonetheless.
ExtrasEureka's UK Region B-locked Blu-ray release of Creepy provides a single subtitled Interview with the Director, but thankfully it's quite a hefty half-hour in runtime and offers lots of background into the production and the story. The disc is rounded off by the original theatrical trailer, and the package boasts a booklet too.
Creepy differentiates itself from genre conventions, cranking up the tension and slow-burning its way through the twists
Whilst the movie doesn't quite reach the level of genre greats, it constantly defies expectations, breathes fresh air into the genre and ultimately comes close to greatness. At the very least it's certainly better than the lazy title suggests, and Eureka's Blu-ray, whilst struggling under the restrictions of the material, does a decent enough job for fans to pick it up. It's certainly worth checking out.
You can buy Creepy on Blu-ray here
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £14.99
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